Swimmers climb to the top of a slide at the Gardner Aquatic Center. A few pools in Johnson County are shock treating their waters in response to the diagnosis of three Johnson County residents with Cryptosporidiosis. File Photo

Swimmers climb to the top of a slide at the Gardner Aquatic Center. A few pools in Johnson County are shock treating their waters in response to the diagnosis of three Johnson County residents with Cryptosporidiosis. File Photo

Danedri Thompson
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Three persons in Johnson County have been diagnosed with Cryptosporidiosis, or Crypto. The illness, which is caused by a protozoan, causes diarrhea and is spread through contaminated water. The county health department is working with pool operators in Overland Park and Shawnee to treat or close those known swimming pools with which infected individuals had contact.
Gardner Aquatic Center has never had a reported case of Crypto, according to parks and recreation director Jeff Stewart.
“We do have policies in which we will treat the pool if we have any kind of concerns,” Stewart said.
The treatment, a shock chlorine treatment, completely clears any potential danger from the water. The affected Shawnee pools are being shock treated.
“It takes high levels of chlorine, which means you have to get everybody out and keep them out while you do that,” Stewart said.
It’s difficult to test pools for the presence of Crypto, because the protozoan lives in pockets.
“You can try and test your bodies of water, but since it lives in pockets, you can’t just do a couple of samplings and know for sure,” Stewart said.
The Overland Park affected swimming pool is privately owned and managed by a homes’ association. The city of Overland Park has posted notice that the pool is closed, but JCDHE is working with the pool operator on the treatment of the affected privately owned homes’ association pool.
JCDHE has determined that there is no public health risk at Shawnee’s city pools and that they are safe for the public to continue to visit and swim in.
The symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting.
Crypto is spread by contact with the stool of infected persons or animals, consumption of contaminated food or water, and by person-to-person or animal-to-animal contact.
“At this time, we have three confirmed cases and are tracking a few more possible cases in the community,” said Lougene Marsh, JCDHE director. “We encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently and ensure their children take frequent breaks from the pool to prevent accidents.”
The Gardner Aquatic Center is open weekends through Labor Day. Stewart said if there were any causes of concern, pool staff would react to it. “Crypto is something you have to be prepared to deal with every year, every season at any time,” Stewart said.